Real-Life X-Ray Vision Allows You to See Through Walls Using Wifi

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 - 3:44PM
Gadgets
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 - 3:44PM
Real-Life X-Ray Vision Allows You to See Through Walls Using Wifi
A team of computer scientists from MIT has been developing technologies that allow for long-distance motion detection for several years; using wireless signals, they created a high-tech motion sensor that could allow parents to monitor their baby's breathing from the other side of the house or firefighters to determine if there are living survivors in a burning building. Now, the researchers have taken the technology one step further, and have used Wifi signals to allow you to see through walls, Superman-style.

As the researchers explain in their new paper, the new technology, called RF Capture, uses Wifi signals to visualize and even identify a person, not to mention tracking their movements. The device transmits Wifi signals that traverse the walls, and then the reflections off of a person's body allow his or her silhouette to be distinguished. They then train the device on a specific person multiple times, allowing it to create a "silhouette fingerprint" that is specific to each individual person. Using this method, the device was able to correctly identify a person out of a possible 15 ninety percent of the time. 



The device is also intelligent enough to "fill in the blanks," so to speak, especially when tracking subtle movements. Since only a certain subset of body parts reflect the Wifi signals at any one time, the technology takes snapshots as the body moves through space and "stitches" them together in order to reconstruct the silhouette into a single image.

The researchers believe this technology can be used for more sophisticated motion capture in film, as it would be able to capture the actor's movements without body sensors, as well as advanced gaming interfaces, as it could allow gamers to interact with games from different rooms or control the game using only hand movements. But on a larger scale, it could also lead to "smart houses," which can conveniently (and a little terrifyingly) track your every move to accommodate your needs.



Opening quote
"We're working to turn this technology into an in-home device that can call 911 if it detects that a family member has fallen unconscious," said MIT professor and co-author Dina Katabi in a statement. "You could also imagine it being used to operate your lights and TVs, or to adjust your heating by monitoring where you are in the house."
Closing quote

There are many practical and humanitarian applications to the technology, although we're sure it'll be scooped up by the military and/or government any second now. But even so, the researchers believe that Wifi-powered "smart homes" are inevitable.

Opening quote
"In the same way that cellphones and WiFi routers have become indispensable parts of today's households," said Katabi, "wireless technologies like this will help power the homes of the future."
Closing quote


Via The Verge.
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